Tories must meet renewables pledge

| 13th July 2020

Solar panels in a field near Five Oaks, west Sussex.

PA
Major businesses and local leaders are demanding the Conservatives do the right thing and make good on renewable energy election pledges.

There is an urgent need to scale up local, sustainable, energy. 

A coalition of local leaders and a major energy business are urging the government to keep its manifesto promise to invest in energy efficiency.

The network of more than 100 mayors, local leaders and energy businesses Siemens UK and EDF are calling on the chancellor to pledge £5 billion towards renewable energy.

They said this will unlock £100 billion of schemes including potentially £40 billion for energy efficiency and create more than 300,000 jobs.

Manifesto

UK100, a network for UK local leaders, and Siemens will present a report sponsored by Department of Business, Energy and Industry Strategy to Minister Kwasi Kwarteng on Monday.

Polly Billington, director of UK100, said: "If ministers are to meet their manifesto promise on energy efficiency in our homes, which are some of the leakiest in Europe, they need to kick-start a renewable revolution.

"This would help hard-pressed consumers save on their fuel bills, support hundreds of thousands of jobs and protect the environment.

"£5 billion now would unlock £100 billion to rescue the UK economy and deliver on the Prime Minister's ambitions of levelling up and meeting Net Zero. The chancellor's statement, while welcome, should have had far more front-loaded investment."

The Conservatives pledged £9.2 billion on improving the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals and to meet the target of net zero emissions by 2050 in their 2019 election manifesto.

Hubs

But the coalition said that only only £2 billion has so far been announced.

They are also calling for a Net Zero Development Bank to be formed in order to finance schemes and avoid doubling up alongside a rebalancing of the system from large power stations to regional energy projects.

Carl Ennis, UK CEO of Siemens, said: "There is an urgent need to scale up local, sustainable, energy if the UK is to have any chance of meeting Net Zero by 2050. This requires a collective national effort with Government, business and the public all playing our part.

"Local energy should be at the heart of the national infrastructure strategy creating a more consistent policy landscape that will give investors the confidence to invest earlier."

The report looked at the progress of the five regional energy hubs set up by the government in 2018 which currently have a pipeline of 183 projects valued at £850 million.

Regulatory

But it said that 90 percent of these projects were still at an early stage of development and most of the projects were relatively small scale at below £5 million.

Analysis conducted by Siemens and UK100 found that the potential pipeline could be increased by more than 100 times from £850 million to £100 billion including £40 billion for energy saving and efficiency in homes and businesses, £10 billion for renewables such as solar, wind and biomass, £30 billion for low carbon heating such as district heating networks, £10 billion for smart energy systems, and £10 billion for low emissions transport such as electric and hydrogen vehicles.

The Net Zero Development Bank would bring together all Government financing for the transition to Net Zero, kick-start local energy schemes which are at too early a stage to be attractive to private finance and avoid duplication, UK100 said.

It added that the Bank would provide a single gateway to government support, replacing lost funding from the EU within a more stable regulatory regime.

This Author

Joe Gammie is a reporter with PA.

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